Mubadala Aerospace yesterday announced a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) contract to build major sections for the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner airliners at its Strata Manufacturing plant in Al Ain.
The announcement, which dominated yesterday's Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, makes Mubadala the Arab world's first direct supplier of composites to the US aircraft maker. Mubadala Aerospace is a division of Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.
"Boeing and Mubadala Aerospace announce a 10-year direct contract for Strata Manufacturing, Mubadala Aerospace's advanced composite aerostructures facility in Al Ain, to produce commercial composite aerostructures for the 777 and 787 Dreamliner," the companies said in a statement signed by Homaid Al Shemmari, Mubadala Aerospace's executive director, and Jim Albaugh, the president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"In addition, the companies announce a strategic agreement that positions Strata to be a future supplier of the vertical fin for the Dreamliner, a major composite assembly for Boeing's most advanced airplane programme," the statement said.
Under the deal, Strata will initially manufacture ribs for the main hull of the Boeing 777, and vertical fin ribs for the vertical tailplane of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Full vertical fin manufacture will follow once the plant and workforce have been brought on line.
Boeing has already begun to provide tooling, operational early training and other support for the initial work packages, and Strata's deliveries of those components are scheduled to begin next year. On the basis of its competitiveness and performance, Strata is positioned to become a future supplier of the 787 vertical fin assembly.
Strata already supplies wing parts for Airbus's A330-340 airliners, beginning deliveries 18 months ago from its factory at Al Ain. The deal with Boeing is "comparative to the existing deal with Airbus, which is in the range of $1bn", said Mubadala's Mr Al Shemmari.
The announcement builds on agreements signed by Mr Albaugh and Mr Al Shemmari at the 2011 Dubai Airshow to establish Strata as a composite aerostructures supplier and develop a strategic road map for Strata to become a major Tier 1 supplier to Boeing.
Tier 1 aerospace suppliers include parts providers such as Rolls-Royce, which makes engines, and companies that make flight-control surfaces and elements of aircraft fuel systems.
"This is an important milestone for Strata," said Mubadala Aerospace's Mr Al Shemmari. "The signing of this agreement, here at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, is testament to how far Strata has come as a company in the short 18 months it has been operational. Mubadala Aerospace is developing a world-class - and crucially - sustainable aerospace industry in the UAE, and Strata is at the heart of this development."
Mr Albaugh also highlighted the importance of the deal.
"This announcement is yet further evidence of how Mubadala Aerospace and Boeing's close strategic agreement is developing all the time," he said. "The UAE is one of Boeing's most important commercial and defence customers, and Boeing has been committed for several years to build a partnership with Mubadala Aerospace that brings long-term, mutual benefits to both companies."
Boeing and Mubadala's choosing to make the announcement at the first Global Aerospace Summit was meant to promote the event as major occasion on the international aerospace calendar. And the event, an invitation-only gathering of some 900 global leaders in the aerospace sector, was convened to mark the emergence of Abu Dhabi as an aerospace powerhouse.
The deal is one in a series of agreements forged by Mubadala Aerospace with world-class aerospace and aviation companies. It already has strategic partnerships with leading organisations such as EADS/Airbus, Finmeccanica-Alenia Aeronautica, General Electric, Sikorsky Aerospace Services, and Lockheed Martin.
Its portfolio of aerospace businesses already includes Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre, SR Technics, Sanad Aero Solutions, Strata Manufacturing, Horizon Flight Academy, and Piaggio Aero.